Seppuku is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. A second was present to decapitate the suicide, and spare them the further pain of the disembowelment. In later years, the second was allowed to use a pistol. Seppuku is also known in English as hara-kiri, a term regarded as gross and vulgar in Japanese.

Seppuku in "Character"[]

While in the body of the legendary Benkei, fictional character Steve fought off the followers of Minamoto Yoritomo while his friend Minamoto Yoshitsune committed seppuku. However, when Benkei's body died, Steve became an omniscient observer, and saw that Yoshitsune had not committed seppuku, though the story ended before Steve could find out what Yoshitsune's final fate.[1]

Seppuku in Days of Infamy[]

Commander Minoru Genda committed seppuku in 1943 after the United States reconquered its territory in Hawaii from Japan. Yasuo Furusawa acted as his second, shooting Genda in the head as Genda slit his belly open.

Seppuku in "The Great White Way"[]

An instinct for sepukku was programmed into the samurai brigade of the Sondhead army for the Sondheim-Webber battle. One samurai committed seppuku after having his eyes scratched out by a Webberite feline commando. General Trina Hutchinson eventually had to restrain the remaining samurai from committing seppuku willy-nilly.

Seppuku in Joe Steele[]

A Japanese brigadier general was the senior officer available to sign a surrender treaty to the United States in 1946. The treaty was carried out after the Americans agreed to return the body of Emperor Hirohito, recently killed in action, for a formal funeral. Once the signing was completed, the brigadier ritually slit his belly to atone for the shame of surrendering.[2]


  1. 'Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2021.
  2. Joe Steele, p. 325, HC.